U better live now

This is one of the most famous entries in the Kangin shū (閑吟集, "Quiet recital collection"), a late Muromachi (16th C.) collection of "folk poems":

何せうぞ くすんで 一期は夢よ ただ狂へ
Nani shō zo/ kusunde/ ichigo wa yume yo/ tada kurue

Why you gotta act all serious?
Life's a dream -- just go crazy.

This is more or less the theme of the entire collection. It's live-for-the-moment stuff. The poem immediately before this one goes: "I can't even bear to look at serious folks/ with wide-awake faces/ here in this world/ of dreams, of dreams, of dreams!" (くすむ人は見られぬ、夢の/\/\世を現顔して). You get the idea.

This kind of thing was very popular in the Muromachi period, especially towards the end when Japan was engulfed in even more civil wars than usual. One wonders what explanation literary historians will find for the exhortations in modern American music to get retarded, hyphy, etc.

Incidentally, you know why it's called the "Quiet recital collection" rather than the "Cavalcade of boisterous revelry"? Because it was compiled by a self-described "lone śramaṇa (桑門)" by the light of the moon in his "quiet abode" (居) where he talks to the fireflies. It's all about backstory.

Popularity factor: 4


I translated the next one in the collection, for your interested readers:

I'm the prince of the city, ho
Ghost ride, ghost ride
Get out the way, let Casper drive


Are we gonna let the (elevator) bring us down?
Oh no, let's go!
Let's go crazy,
Let's get nuts


Sorry, I'm oversees and don't have a dict. Is kusumu a popular word meaning betting serious?
This is the first time I hear it.


Naoki: It was at the time, though I haven't heard it in a modern context. It had a perjorative connotation too, not a positive or neutral one (think 生真面目 vs 真面目)

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